Riches and strength lift up the heart: but the fear of the Lord is above them both

An icon of Solomon, King of Israel (10th century BC)

An icon of Solomon, King of Israel (10th century BC). To Solomon are attributed the Proverbs and also Ecclesiastes.


Governments are corrupted and weakened by overspending, bureaucracy, and injustice

A KING in need of revenues is a great oppressor: but he that hates injustice shall live a long time. Pr 30:16

BECAUSE of unrighteous dealings, injuries, and riches got by deceit, the kingdom is translated from one people to another. Sir 10:8

IF you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. Eccles 5:8-9 (NIV)

IT is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. Ps 117(118)8:9

PUT not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Ps 145(146):3

Heavy borrowing (public and private alike) is bad

FOR the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. Deut 15:6

THE rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Pr 22:7 (NIV)

THE sinner borrows, and will not pay again: but the righteous has compassion, and gives. Ps 36(37):21

Don’t choose to become economically dependent on others

THE life of him that dependeth on another man’s table is not to be counted for a life; for he polluteth himself with other men’s meat: but a wise man well nurtured will beware thereof. Sir 40: 29

MAKE it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thess 4:10-12 (NIV)

FOR even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling [NB not “unable”] to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 2 Thess 3:10-12 (NIV)

Values are more important than money

WEALTH gotten hastily with iniquity is diminished: but he that gathers for himself with godliness shall be increased. Pr 13:11

A POOR man walking in truth is better than a rich liar. Pr 30:6

Elder Paisios the Athonite

“A poor man walking in truth”. Elder Paisios the Athonite (+1994).

A FAIR name is better than much wealth, and good favour is above silver and gold. Pr 22:1

HE that trusts in wealth shall fall; but he that helps righteous men shall rise. Pr 11:28

A RICH man is wise in his own conceit; but an intelligent poor man will condemn him. Pr 30:11

GOLD hath been the ruin of many, and their destruction was present. It is a stumblingblock unto them that sacrifice unto it, and every fool shall be taken therewith. Blessed is the rich that is found without blemish, and hath not gone after gold. Sir 34:6-8

RICHES and strength lift up the heart: but the fear of the Lord is above them both: there is no want in the fear of the Lord, and it needeth not to seek help. The fear of the Lord is a fruitful garden, and covereth him above all glory. Sir 40:26-27

IF I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor 13:3 (NIV)

THE love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:10 (NIV)

Generosity does not go unrewarded

HE that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and he will recompense to him according to his gift. Pr 19:17

HE that has pity on the poor shall himself be maintained; for he has given of his own bread to the poor. Pr 22:9

Wealth and poverty are God’s to distribute (and they can change)

PROSPERITY and adversity, life and death, poverty and riches, come of the Lord. Sir 11:14

THERE are some who, having nothing, enrich themselves: and there are some who bring themselves down in the midst of much wealth. Pr 13:7

THE rich and the poor meet together; but the Lord made them both. Pr 22:2

An icon of the Lamentation at the Tomb of Christ

“The rich and the poor meet together.” An icon of the Lamentation at the tomb. The wealthy Joseph of Arimathea, who gave his purchased burial plot to Jesus, is at the front right.

MARVEL not at the works of sinners; but trust in the Lord, and abide in thy labour: for it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord on the sudden to make a poor man rich. Sir 11:21

Be generous and share

THERE is one that waxeth rich by his wariness and pinching, and this his the portion of his reward: Whereas he saith, I have found rest, and now will eat continually of my goods; and yet he knoweth not what time shall come upon him, and that he must leave those things to others, and die. Sir 11:18

BETTER is the poor, being sound and strong of constitution, than a rich man that is afflicted in his body. Health and good estate of body are above all gold, and a strong body above infinite wealth. There is no riches above a sound body, and no joy above the joy of the heart. Sir 30:14-16

FORGET not thy friend in thy mind, and be not unmindful of him in thy riches. Sir 37:6

GIVE to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Mt 5:42 (NIV)

ALL the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)

COMMAND those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Tim 6:17-19 (NIV)

The goal is not wealth or poverty, but sufficiency

REMOVE far from me vanity and falsehood: and give me not wealth or poverty; but appoint me what is needful and sufficient. Pr 25:8

WHOEVER loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. Eccles 5:10 (NIV)

THE sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. Eccles 5:12 (NIV)

FOR if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. 2 Cor 8:13-14 (NIV)

The Feast of the Theophany at the Vatopaidi monastery on Mount Athos

The Feast of the Theophany at the Vatopaidi monastery on Mount Athos

Spending money on the House of God is a proper use of it

FOR thus saith the Lord Almighty; Yet once I will shake the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the choice portions of all the nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord Almighty. Mine is the silver, and mine the gold, saith the Lord Almighty. For the glory of this house shall be great, the latter more than the former, saith the Lord Almighty: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord Almighty, even peace of soul for a possession to every one that builds, to raise up this temple. Haggai 2:7-9

Children are a form of wealth

BEHOLD, the inheritance of the Lord, children, the reward of the fruit of the womb. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of those who were outcasts. Blessed is the man who shall satisfy his desire with them: they shall not be ashamed when they shall speak to their enemies in the gates. Ps 126(127):3

Unless otherwise noted, passages are quoted from the Septuagint version by Sir Lancelot Brenton.


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